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VOM-USA News & Prayer Update

May 26, 2005

Prayers for May 24, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs

“Help me, O Lord my God!
Oh, save me according to Your mercy,
That they may know that this is Your hand-
That You, Lord, have done it!”
(Psalm 109:26-27)

ERITREA (Compass Direct)
Pastor Oqbamichel Haimanot of the Kale Hiwot (Word of Life) Church, arrested four months ago at a wedding, has suffered a mental breakdown due to harsh physical and emotional mistreatment suffered during his confinement at the military training center in Sawa. The evangelical minister, arrested January 9th along with 64 church members, is one of 16 pastors and nearly 900 Eritrean Christians jailed for meeting to pray and worship without government approval. None of the prisoners has been charged in court or brought to trial. Eritrean Christians have expressed particular concern for “vulnerable prisoners.” They include Orthodox Church leader Dr. Tekleab Mengisteab, who has been unable to obtain the medications for his diabetic condition, and Demoze Afwerki, 67, who heads Gideons International in Eritrea. (Click here)

Let’s cry out to God for these suffering brothers just as if we ourselves were imprisoned with them. Pray Jesus will draw close to each one with His special comfort. Pray for a mighty move of the Holy Spirit to show the reality of God’s love and mercy to the dictatorial authorities in Eritrea.

INDIA (Compass Direct)
A group of extremists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) attacked and beat eight students from Beersheba Bible College of the Indian Pentecostal Church of God at Maraman, Chettimukku, on May 12th. The students were making their way on foot to attend a funeral when about 15 motor-cycle-mounted RSS members assaulted them with sharp weapons. All eight Beersheba students were treated for injuries at a district hospital in nearby Kozhencherry; three of them required hospitalization. Despite continuing RSS threats against the college, Beersheba principal Shibu Nalweli said the campus community has chosen to forgive the attackers and does not wish to press charges. However, local police have registered a criminal case against the 15 RSS members involved in the incident.

Give thanks and praise to God that all the students survived this attack. Thank Him also for the Christlike attitude of the campus community and their witness of what it means to be a Christian. Pray Jesus will move the attackers to seek the One whose followers have forgiven them.

(Compass Direct)
A right-wing Hindu group, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council), in Orissa, India, has threatened to launch a campaign for the dismissal of Christian government officers in response to an order granting equal rights to tribal Christians. Levinus Kindo, a Christian revenue officer, ordered the change in March before his retirement. Prior to the order’s passage, Christian members of Scheduled Tribes were denied access to education and employment quotas provided for them. “It seems to me that people were taking advantage of the (Christian) Santhals by depriving them of these privileges, and that is why people are now raising their voices,” Kindo said. The VHP has also objected to a campaign calling for equal rights for low-caste Hindus who convert to Christianity.

Pray Christians in Orissa will have the spirit of Christ toward those who are trying to bring down the Christian government officers. Pray Jesus will show Himself strong in obstructing political tactics that would harm believers. Pray the low-caste Hindus who convert to Christianity will abound with joy in their newfound status as sons of God.

SAUDI ARABIA (Compass Direct)
Five East African Christians arrested at a private Christian worship service three weeks ago are being refused access to visitors. Officers of the Mabahith internal security force told an expatriate friend who attempted to visit the three Ethiopians and two Eritreans last week at the Riyadh prison facility where they are jailed that the Christian prisoners would only be allowed visitors after one month. The muttawa (Islamic religious police) who raided the April 29th worship service and arrested the men have authority to detain suspects for only 24 hours. “However in practice, persons (are) held weeks or months and sometimes longer,” the U.S. State Department’s 2004 human rights report on Saudi Arabia notes.

Pray Jesus will surround these men with a sense of His loving presence. Pray our righteous God will prove Himself powerful in the release of these men. Pray Jesus will make Himself known to many Muslims throughout Saudi Arabia.

The Muslim brother of Siham Qandah, the Christian widow who had fought numerous court battles to have custody of her children, has appealed the court ruling last month removing him as guardian of Siham’s children. According to Middle Eat Concern, Siham’s lawyer has 10 days to submit counter arguments. It is expected that the judge will make a ruling without further hearings.

Pray God will move the heart of this judge to have compassion on Siham and courage to uphold the court ruling. Pray He will comfort and strengthen Siham and the children as they wait yet again. Pray the Lord will work a miracle of His grace to bring Siham’s brother to repentance and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

IRAN (Compass Direct)
Last week Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand left Tehran’s Evin Prison by armored car, en route to his home city of Bandar-i Bushehr, to stand trial for his life before a sharia (Islamic) court. Some of Pourmand’s relatives were allowed to see him briefly before his departure from Tehran, but the prisoner was not permitted to speak with them. Gazing at them silently, he mouthed the words, “Please pray for me.” A colonel in the Iranian army who converted from Islam to Christianity 25 years ago, Pourmand faces execution by hanging under Iranian law for apostasy and proselytizing.”

Pray God will give Pourmand courage and strength as he brings the light of Christ into his prison cell. Pray Christians worldwide will take to heart his plea to pray for him. Pray the court trial will bring Pourmand’s release to the glory of God.

BENIN (Missions Insider)
Earlier this month VOM reported the kidnapping of two missionary children by voodooists. After careful negotiations by local Christians, police and the kidnappers, the children were released. The ministry leader heard that the abductors had taken the children to a dark area where he had been refused entry because the people accused him of interfering with their dark powers. As he continued praying, he went to that area. He was met by some Christians ministering in that area and was led to the home of a respected chief who was ill and near death. After seven minutes of prayer, the chief awoke from three days on his death bed, stood up and followed the evangelist as he preached, and people called on the name of God. Everyone there gave their lives to Jesus. A new church was started in that place.

Give heartfelt thanks to our God who can turn what the enemy meant for evil into good for His eternal glory. Pray the Lord will take away any trauma the children might suffer after this frightening experience and give them complete emotional and spiritual healing. Pray the voodooists who turned to Jesus will take root in their faith and be bold, leading many others to their Savior.

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